"2019 Best Suburban Festival"
-CityScene Magazine's Best of the 'Bus
Presented by the Westerville Area Chamber & Chamber member businesses
To celebrate 47 years of bringing music and art into our community, the Westerville Area Chamber, with the support of member businesses, has been able to put on the event that grows every year. With that growth, we would like to take you back in time to share how the Westerville Music & Arts Festival became what it is today.
The first-ever event took place in the summer of 1973. Doris Hoffman, who owned Flowers by Doris on College Avenue and was a member of the Westerville Area Chamber, decided to get the uptown merchants to come together to give back and celebrate the local community. This was a way to say thanks by getting art and concession trucks to set up shop locally for a weekend. The Festival took place on State Street and eventually spread over onto College Avenue as it grew from more people wanting to be involved.
As the festival began to draw larger crowds, the venue changed in 1978 to Towers Hall at Otterbein University and would continue there for the next 22 years. Every year led to more concessions and artists that it continued to fill up the campus grounds. It needed more space to grow, so in 1999 the last Festival was held at Otterbein and was looking to find a new home.
The new millennium led to new adventures as the venue search took place. A growing festival meant a larger space that needed to have the potential for years to come. That potential led the Chamber to find Heritage Park. The new park had so many opportunities and room to expand, so in 2000 the Festival set up roots and has been there ever since. Twenty years later and every single part of the park is now used for exhibits, stages and food trucks that took over for concessionaires.
Over the years, different parts of the festival have changed and evolved. Up until four years ago, an area called the Heritage Section, had a blacksmith, glassblower, weaver and more to show some period dress and skills. The Westerville Walkway changed two years ago and now has become apart of the Emerging Artists portion of the judging. Within the last four years, music has taken on a bigger focus with the addition of the songwriter tent and increased musicians on the North Stage.
Nowadays, we have 130+ artisans, over 30 performances, 15+ food vendors and roughly 18,000 people over the two days, plus our Saturday night concert with beer allowed to be sold. Shocking considering the prohibition past in Westerville. Even food trucks can compete to win awards in four different categories.
From the people who have supported the event in the past to the ones continuing the tradition onwards, the Westerville Music & Arts Festival can only continue to grow and shine a light onto the talents of our community and share them for all to see.
Here from Westerville community and business leaders about what they love about the Westerville Music & Arts Festival...
A special thanks to Jean Glagola for the editing and uploading of our videos.
Ashley Fellers, Chairman of the Westerville Area Chamber Board of Trustees and Financial Advisor with Trailhead Financial Partners
Mark Faubel, Chairman of the Music and Arts Committee and Financial Advisor/ Partner with Jericho Financial
Kathy Cocuzzi, Mayor, City of Westerville
Phyllis Allen, former Chamber employee who worked on 10 Music & Arts Festivals
Hear messages from our Sponsors!
Jeff Akers, Director, Regional Learning Centers at Columbus State University
Laura Stimmel, AVP/Branch Manager/Mortgage and Consumer Lender at Liberty National Bank